Incorporating SEO Processes into Your Business
This is how many times people use Google in just 1 second. When you consider that almost every one of those searches will lead to a business of one kind or another, it’s hard to undervalue the importance of SEO. Having your website on the first page of Google is the new American dream, and with all the competition out there, you can’t afford to keep it on the backburner.
The problem that most businesses find with Search Engine Optimization is that a lot of the associated improvements aren’t one-offs that you can assign to someone to finish in a day or two. What works to bring in traffic today will not necessarily work a year from now or even a week from now (Moz reports that Google changes its search algorithm around 500-600 times each year). So it’s important to remember that SEO is something that needs to be revisited time and time again to figure out what works and what doesn’t for your business website. In short, SEO is a process, not a project. Now let’s get that process started.Where do I start with SEO?
SEO isn’t easy and it’s not something many people can jump into without feeling bombarded by information. The key is to start out small and build from there so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- First things first, if you haven’t already, you should set up your Google Analytics account and watch the intro video. This is how you’ll monitor the who, what, where, and when of your website’s traffic. Eventually it will be the most important resource for your SEO game in the future, so better to set it up now, even if you aren’t exactly sure what to do with it yet.
- I also recommend reading Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO. It’s a great, free tool that provides a comprehensive look at all the basics of SEO. Print it out, grab a highlighter, and make notes on what your website needs to improve on.
Now that you have your head a little bit more wrapped around the concepts of SEO, you’re going to want to start diving into the nitty gritty of your website. Let’s look at that next.
Make a Good Foundation
Once you’ve read Moz’s Beginners Guide, you may start to realize there are a lot of technical and stylistic changes you could be making to your website even before thinking about Analytics. These are tried and true SEO tactics that will start your website on a good SEO foundation.
You’ll need someone who can edit the code of your site either through FTP or a Content Management System like Wordpress, as well as a firm process to get it all done; this will depend on the size of your team and the scale of your site.
Here are just a few of the simple ways to start improving your SEO right away.
- Start a blog and stick to it. Companies that blog will have, on average, nearly 450% more indexed pages than a company which doesn’t. That’s time well spent. Just remember, quality is more important than quantity. Write about what your audience cares about.
- Write for humans, not search engines. In recent years search engines have cracked down on websites trying to “trick” them into ranking their page higher. Don’t do this. Make your content valuable to your audience, rich with specific long-tail keywords that your demographic will be searching for.
- Improve your on-page content structure. For instance, <h1> tags should be for your main headings. <b>Bold</b> the important stuff, and make sure you have no broken links. Create effective <title> tags for your pages that incorporate your most popular keywords.
- Link to high ranking sites.
- Get social. Utilize social sharing buttons on your site and post your new content to your networks.
- Make sure your urls include the keywords for which you’re optimizing. Eg. www.birdwatching.com/bird-calls-of-ontario rather than www.birdwatching.com/bcallsontario1 . You don’t want a url to be too long-winded either. Make it something easily copy and pasted and shareable.
There are many other ways to boost your SEO of course, but these are a few of the main tactics that can create a solid foundation to start from. Now you can move on to your Analytics and create processes for that.
Looking at the Data
To start, you’re going to want to check up on your SEO stats fairly frequently, probably weekly. Set up a schedule that works for you but make sure you stick to it. Google Analytics has a handy email feature that can email you the specific reports you want to check in on. Here’s how:
- Log into Google Analytics for the account you want to focus on, and pull up whatever report you’d like to start emailing.
- Set the parameters for the report. If you’re setting up weekly reports, you’re going to want to change the date range in the upper-right hand corner, and use the dropdown menu to select “last week”.
- You can also choose to play around with other reporting options, including how data points are plotted (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.) and more. Make sure everything is how you want it to look.
- Underneath the title of the report in the upper-left hand corner, click “Email”.
The “from” address will automatically be the email address associated with the account. You can add as many “to” addresses as you want. You can also choose the format, the subject line, the frequency, and the day of the week you’d like to receive it.
You can do this with any report or screen on Google Analytics, but you probably want to start simple with an Acquisition Overview. This report will give you an overall view of how your audience is getting to your site—organic (search engines), social (Facebook, etc.), direct (typed in the url) and referral (linked from another page) traffic. You can see in general what’s working, and where you need to focus more of your energy.
As you become more familiar with your Analytics, you can start adding to the reports that you receive. Check out this great article from Forbes about the 4 Weekly GA Reports Every Business Owner Should Set Up.
A couple final tips:
If you’re a visual learner like I am, you might find the below infographic helpful. It’s a simplified periodic table of the elements of SEO, ranked from most important to least. I find keeping graphics like this pinned up around me reminds me to keep my SEO game in check.
It also may be helpful to keep your ear to the ground via popular SEO blogs like Search Engine Land, Moz and Hubspot. If there’s an algorithm change or any other big SEO news, these popular SEO companies will be the first ones to post about it.
Once again, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with SEO. The key to it, like most things, is sticking with a plan. If you make SEO a process, rather than a project, you will find your way to the front page. Good luck and happy keywording!
Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer
I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?